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European Journal

News/Business. (2012) Gang warfare rages in Marseilles, France. (CC) (Stereo)

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PBS

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00:30:00

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Comcast

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Channel 71 (507 MHz)

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mpeg2video

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ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
528

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 9, Marseille 6, Lithuania 5, Spain 4, France 3, Unesco 2, Javier 2, Germany 2, Brussels 2, Euros 2, Europe 2, Nicolas Sarkozy 1, Soviet Union 1, Krantz 1, Thomas Mann 1, Cornelia Shell 1, Unaccompanied 1, Nazis 1, Eastern Germany 1, Portugal 1,
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  PBS    European Journal    News/Business.  (2012) Gang warfare  
   rages in Marseilles, France. (CC) (Stereo)  

    October 7, 2012
    1:00 - 1:30pm PDT  

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>> hello and a very warm welcome to "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. good to have you with us. here's what is coming up -- the war of drug gangs in marseille. question of legitimacy -- why houses in lithuania could be torn down. and symbols of the cave -- why there are so many castles in germany. south of france is one of
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europe's most popular tourist destinations, but few people actually have my say on their mind. france's second-largest city has always had a bit of a dodgy reputation. drug trafficking and crimes is big in marseille, just like in any of the port city, and the gangs that dominate the scene have been involved in a brutal war for months now. more than 20 people have been killed since the beginning of this year. >> the northern district of marseille are rundown and neglected. drug gangs rule supreme here. they control entire housing estates, guarding the entrance is. we would not have dared to come here unaccompanied. the streets are no go areas. normally camera crews are driven away forcibly. we have a former police officer with us. he investigated crime here for 20 years. he and his colleagues were not often successful, but they managed to catch some dealers.
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over time, he got to know their methods. >> look to the left -- that is a place where they sell drugs. there's one of the lookouts waiting for customers. the lookouts watch to see which cars drive by. the system works like a road block. they are responsible for keeping unwanted visitors out and morning their associates. that way they stop the dealers from getting caught. >> tons of cannabis and cocaine -- drugs worth millions of bureaus -- are bought and sold here. val gangs fight for the best hall. they are constantly recruiting new teenagers. these are attracted by the money. a lookout earns 100 euros a day. a street dealer gets between 3000 and 5000 euros a month. if they rise in the hierarchy, it could mean tens of thousands of income. very few are willing to say
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anything on camera. >> i was not so good it's cool, but thankfully, i got into dealing. it works like a business. we each have our place in the pecking order. we earn more than a bricklayer who gets up early and ends the day with a backache. we get up at 10:00, sit around here until evening. of course, the job is dangerous, but that is life. >> they are risking their lives. and number of them have fallen into the clutches of rival dealers. many become the victims of vendettas. >> here they pay tribute to thos who have died at t end of a gun. >> marseille is known as a mafia stronghold. it used to be a few rigidly organized family krantz -- family clans that control the drug trade. nowadays, hundreds in the
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business. it is an opportunity to get rich quick. in the northern districts, half of all young people are jobless. nearly 1/3 of families live under the poverty line. would-be recruits are queuing up to join the drug trade. then if the police arrest all the dealers in a gang and confiscate the drugs in the afternoon, the next morning, new kids are dealing drugs in the same place. there are now as many games as there are apartment blocks. the kids do not talk or negotiate any more. they just start shooting at each other. >> this year, the police have confiscated hundreds of weapons like the one this boy is showing us -- among them, semi-automatic rifles. >> we need to protect our turf against the others who want to get at us. >> the officers hardly ever
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catch the kids themselves. these days, patrol's no longer dare to get near certain housing estates and only check the cars that lead -- the dealers potential customers. the gangs spread on challenge, and the other residents feel abandoned. >> we never go out in the evening anymore. as soon as i get in my car, i locked it. i always look around to see if anyone is following or watching me, especially when i go to the supermarket. it is held for elderly people like me. we just do not feel safe anymore. then the kids will love you as soon as look at you. you cannot leave home with a handbag. >> politicians seem helpless. while the conservative former president nicolas sarkozy had the police presence in northern marseilles' reduced, the socialist government in paris
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wants to send more than 200 additional police to marseille. the left-wing mayor of the district says even that is not enough. she wants the army to patrol the district. >> i am only saying what the residents do not dare say out loud because they're afraid there will be repercussions. they are afraid their cars will be set on fire, they will be threatened, or their children a salted. >> those fears are justified. often police have to let dealers go shortly after they have arrested them, especially if they are minors. the police have the impression judges are undoing the work they have done. >> our courts should finally start imposing harsher penalties on drug consumers and dealers. >> the war against drug gangs is not even close to being one --
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won. that harms marseille's prospects as a european capital of culture next year. the old port is being spruced up and a museum built, but not much is set to change in the city's in northern districts. >> when the soviet union fell apart, lithuania was the first of the republics to formally declare independence. what followed in the 1990's was a turbulent time politically and economically. lithuania had to make the leap to aarket economy and delop ne sources of ince. the koreans that, for instance, was great for tourism, but a legal fight today shows lithuanians still has a long way to go in its attempt to shake off the coast from its post- soviet past. >> a summer paradise could soon become a nightmare. she practices piano as her
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parents said in a garden. 10 years ago, the family made her lifelong wish come true. they built a summer home on the crony and spit. now, the wood frame house is to be torn down. authorities say it was built illegally. >> we had all the permits when we bought the house. signatures from every relevant authority -- the notaries and the bank checked it all. we had to get a mortgage using our assets as collateral. five years ago, we suddenly received news that there was a court case against us. >> other homeowners are suffering a similar fate. the homes are nearly all new, and all had building permits, which is not always the case in lithuania.
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apparently, the authorities allowed construction on land that should never have been developed. the properties are located in the middle of a national park that is a unesco world heritage site. there are some 30 homes here. the national park director is insisting the buildings be torn down. otherwise, it may lose its unesco status. >> even after 20 years of independence, we are still a young country. when the houses were built, business people and some of the authorities thought they could interpret the law to suit their own purposes. that is why the officials signed the documents. it was not until a few years later that they were audited to see if they had violated their own laws. >> with the director is not mentioning is corruption. officials back then issued permits to relatives and friends and just helped themselves. a former mayor approved these
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houses and had his own construction company build them. officially, the job was noted down as renovating old fisherman's hut that once stood here. >> i do not envy the homeowners. they are innocent and bought the properties in good faith as the third or fourh owners. now they have got to cope with the ruling of the cour their houses will be torn down. >> the enterprising mayor has long since died and cannot be brought to justice. the other corrupt officials are no longer in office. when a legal structure has already been torn down -- a wealthy latvian build a grand new summer residence for himself on an existing foundation right next door to the former summer home of thomas mann. demolition followed a court ruling earlier this year. the current mayor advises
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drawing a line under what happened and moving forward. and by all means, leave the beautiful homes standing. he was once a key figure in lithuanian politics. he was health minister and a diplomat. he is relaxed about the tumbled down fisherman's hut that turned out to be brand-new holiday homes. he says he cannot understand people who are insisting on the letter of the law. >> ok, in the plans from back then, it said the buildings were only to be used for municipal purposes and fishing, but times have changed, and tourism is booming. that is why we should use the houses, and these new buildings -- well, they have already become part of the landscape. >> it has certainly become one of the most popular holiday areas on the baltic. vacationers continue to flock
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here even in september. many are from germany. they spend their time working the beaches -- walking the beaches. the families want a fair settlement but fear that in all the legal confusion, they could lose their house. >> we will take it as far as the european court in strasbourg. if we do not receive fair treatment here in lithuania, but our lawyers have already warned us that our chances are poor. all this is reminiscent of soviet times when the legal system was unreliable. >> the family says the sense of powerlessness enrages them, and they really get down about it. there is only one thing that helps -- remembering the pleasant times they were lucky enough to have had here already. >> tens of thousands of europeans have been taking to the street regularly in recent weeks to protest against
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austerity measures imposed by their governments. i of france, portugal, and greece, people agree they cannot or will not tighten their belts any more. the spanish government, for instance, has been making big cuts in education, health, and social welfare, but at the same time, more people are losing their jobs and do not know how to pay for their food each day. one man has found his own way of making sure he does not need to rely on others for help. >> i am technical dughtsm by profession. i am 40 years old and since easter, i have been working as a shoe shiner here. >> his work for engineering firms and four architects. he has designed web pages for
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publishing companies, but when he lost his most important customer at the end of the year, he faced joining the hordes of other unemployed people in spain. but he was not entitled to benefit because he had been self-employed. >> i do not want to be dependent on anyone -- not on family, not on friends. i wanted to be able to put food on the table, put a roof over my head. i came up with this idea. i am quite content with it. july and august were really difficult months. i hardly earned anything, but christmas is a while off yet. if i can buy a nugget then, that no carry on. >> unions if he can afford the traditional seat, the year must not have been so bad.
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shoe shiners cannot set up wherever they want, so he went to the heart of historic old town. i did not take much persuading. >> i have been looking for a shoe shiner to work outside the cafe for a long time, but i wanted someone honest who does not keep the tourists. >> its therefore all to see. as well as shoeshine, he now designs the cafe placemats and posters in exchange for a free lunch and a few extra euros. >> he is also increasingly becoming our voice on the internet. i really liked the way he does it. he is quite a different person, not aggressive. to be honest, he communicates exactly the same kind of image that we want our cafe to have. then he has become a public figure. last week, he noticed that the
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fountains opposite the cafe were not working properly. he tweeted the news on his mobile phone. less than two hours later, he got a call from the relative city council person who thanked him effusively and had it repaired. this shoe shiner also has his own website. recently, he got his first online booking. on a good day, he can earn up to 60 years. on a bad one, he can hardly cover the cost of a bus trip to the center. he is a mild-mannered man, but spanish politicians make him mad. >> they have duped us. they have been telling us for 25 years, for our whole working lives, that things in spain were looking up, that we should not worry because wages would rise. now?
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we are living on half and 1/3 of what people earn elsewhere in europe. that is not an adequate minimum wage. it is hard. >> he no longer lives in the center of town but in a small room by the beach almost an hour out of town. he does not have his own bathroom or kitchen. in spain, people often turn to family or friends for help when things get hard. javier's friends bought this little getaway. >> we had this room free. this used to be a tiny beach bar. we were using it as a store room. we cleared out the room together and did it up, and we thought this would be a good solution. >> jose live from playing the piano in creating music. it will not make him rich, but
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he is better off than javier, and not just in material terms. >> what i miss most is a sense of normality. the normality of paying into my pension each day, of being able to relax each day. of being able to put some money aside, not just having to work so i can afford to eat. i miss having a sense of well- being and satisfaction. >> and who would not want to live in a castle? lots of space, beautiful architecture, untouched nature around to? that dream come true in eastern germany.
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there are some 2000 castles and noble farmhouses their, most of them dating from the 19th century, and lots of them are for sale. sound good? there is a catch, of course. many are close to falling down. >> for years, the souses been falling apart. monument conservationists had no choice but to stand back and watch. when the building owners did not fulfill their legal duty to maintain the building, they were forced to sell it to the local authority, but unfortunately, the authority did not have the money to pay for its restoration, and now, the search is on for a buyer. >> it hurts that a property like that one has now been empty for over 20 years because i know that the longer it stands empty, the more damage will be done.
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some things could have been saved if the process of restoration had started earlier. then at a similar fate is shared by more than 400 other castles and stately homes in the northeastern state of mecklenburg. many are ravaged by woodworm and fungal." . -- fungal the case. the former owners failed to repair the roof. the ornate interiors have been destroyed by rot. often people fail to realize how much money is involved in the upkeep of such buildings. if you want to own a mansion, you have to have a few million at your disposal, but multimillionaires tend to prefer thinkers in spain over mansions in northeastern germany
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the hunting lodge was just a great, faceless building in communist times, but it has undergone a miraculous transformation since then. the building used to belong to his family but after german unification, he bought it for a symbolic price. he leased out the land and restore the lodge with the proceeds. he also rents out holiday apartments in large, but it is not a model that can be reproduced everywhere. >> the idea that you could turn all these stately homes into hotels or conference centers is absurd. it only works in certain cases. there are many people committed to preserving these houses. we will not be able to save them all. it is a pity, but on the other hand, it is a consequence of far-reaching historical developments and political decisions. than any family hunting lodge was seized by the nazis and
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served as a home for refugees towards the end of the war. in communist east germany, the building was converted and use for civil defense purposes and left to deteriorate further. you could do something with it if you have 5 million euros to spare, and just as importantly, the right idea. real-estate agent cornelia shell specializes in selling properties like these. some potential buyers seem to have rather unrealistic notions. >> people frequently tell me they would like to have a spacious home. when i want it might be a bit too spacious, they add that they were thinking about bringing it along their mother-in-law as well. imagine -- that is around 2000
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square meters. you do not have to use it all, but at least 1000 square meters on the ground floor and first floor. that is the equivalent of at least five single-fami dwellings. and you have to be able to pay for the maintenance of all of that. >> she has now found a credible potential buyer, but it is all about location. >> often, they are not in the right surroundings. for example, if a park has been partly turned into allotments, or if there is it that founding built nearby, which is a growing problem, then at sounds a death knell. >> some 300,000 piglets' will be bred here each year once the
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facility is in full operation. there menorah were for wheat -- their manure will fire a biogas plan next door. a lot of money was spent coerting the buildg to include five holiday flats. he loves living in the countryside, but he is angry that his idea to attract tourists to the area is endangered by a huge factory farm. >> it is a peaceful, rural area. that is what people want. if the national environment is destroyed, then it is really bad, and not just for our own investment, but for the area in general. at the beginning, i thought i would get involved in the fight against it, that i would not go along with it, but now, i am having my doubts. i wonder whether things are not better as they stand a if would be better off moving away.
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>> of course, that is not with this conservationist wants, but more and more manor houses on her map are marked in pink, indicating that they are in serious condition. >> recently, one of the manor houses had disappeared completely. there was just a heap of stones. fear that in the next five or 10 years, and aiding houses will be beyond repair. >> it could soon be dotted with ruins, ruins with a certain melancholic charm for sure, but hardly evidence of the prosperity that east germans were promised after unification. >> that brings us to the end of this edition of "european journal" from dw studios in brussels. from all of us here, thanks very much for watching. until next nine -- until next time, bye for now!
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